Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government to re-examine samples of baby powder manufactured by Johnson & Johnson Pvt Ltd in government or government approved laboratories.
A division bench of Justices S V Gangapurwala and S G Dige asked additional government pleader Milind More to submit names on November 16 of such labs where the tests can be conducted.
The order was passed while hearing a petition filed by the company challenging two orders of the state government, one dated September 15 cancelling the licence and the second dated September 20 ordering immediate stop to the manufacturing and sale of the company’s baby powder product.
The orders were passed by the Joint Commissioner and Licensing Authority of the state Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The state government had based its orders on the report of the Central Drug Laboratory, which found the powder contained higher pH level than prescribed.
The HC, on Monday, also asked the state to take instructions on whether they would be willing to allow the company to begin manufacturing of the powder at the facility.
“Let them be allowed to manufacture, we will not permit them any handover for sale or even distribution,” the court said.
The company, in its plea, said 14 random batches of February, March and September 2022 were tested by an independent public testing laboratory and all were found to be well within the prescribed pH value.
The leading fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturer said it has been making baby powder in its Mulund plant for the last 57 years and its licence was renewed in January 2020. The company said it was facing a daily loss of Rs 2.5 crore, based on market value of goods sold, due to revocation of licence.